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On Monday, February 3, industry studies researcher Professor Cynthia Barnhart was named MIT's new Chancellor. Cindy was co-director of the Global Airlines Industry Center established by the Sloan Foundation at MIT in 1999. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Cindy's research has been focused on optimizing transportation systems, especially in aviation. She develops mathematical models and algorithms, often context- and data-driven, to shape the design of transportation systems. She has advised domestic and international airlines on schedule design and resource utilization, and the Federal Aviation Administration on policies to improve the U.S. aviation system overall, particularly on topics around congestion and delays. More about Cindy and her recent appointment is available at: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2014/martin-schmidt-named-provost-cynthia-barnhart-named-chancellor-0203.html


I am pleased to let you k
now that an industry studies handbook has just been published by Edward Elgar Publishing: The Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography.  I have been working on this handbook for several years, as co-editor with Philip McCann (University of Groningen) and Geoffrey Hewing (University of Illinois), and I am really happy to see it come to fruition. As suggested by the title, this is a “specialized” handbook in that it looks at a particular slice of industry studies research by exploring the intersection of industry and economic geography. You will see a number of familiar industry studies scholars in the list of authors as well as many others from regional science, economic geography, and other related disciplines.  Many of the papers reflect the kind of depth and field-based experience that help to bring out important insights related to industry behavior, and the breadth of industries covered is very wide.  You can learn more about the handbook by following this link: http://www.e-elgar.com/bookentry_mainUS.lasso?id=3542

-- Frank Giarratani, University of Pittsburgh (1/14/2014)

Professor Alberto Di Minin (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa) was appointed Senior Advisor for Innovation Policy to the Italian Minister of Research, Education and Universities in July 2013. He is working on the implementation of the digital agenda in Italy, technology transfer and high tech entrepreneurship. Alberto is a Research Fellow with the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy.  His Ph.D. Dissertation was recognized with an Industry Study Dissertation Award in 2007, and he served on the Early Career Development Committee of ISA. www.diminin.it

Unfinished Business documents the history and impact of California's paid family leave program, the first of its kind in the United States, which began in 2004. Drawing on original data from fieldwork and surveys of employers, workers, and the larger California adult population, Ruth Milkman and Eileen Appelbaum analyze in detail the effect of the state’s landmark paid family leave on employers and workers. They also explore the implications of California’s decade-long experience with paid family leave for the nation, which is engaged in ongoing debate about work-family policies.

Milkman and Appelbaum recount the process by which California workers and their allies built a coalition to win passage of paid family leave in the state legislature, and lay out the lessons for advocates in other states and localities, as well as the nation. Because paid leave enjoys extensive popular support across the political spectrum, campaigns for such laws have an excellent chance of success if some basic preconditions are met. Do paid family leave and similar programs impose significant costs and burdens on employers? Business interests argue that they do and routinely oppose any and all legislative initiatives in this area. Once the program took effect in California, this book shows, large majorities of employers themselves reported that its impact on productivity, profitability, and performance was negligible or positive.

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Professor Susan Helper, whose industry studies research has focused on the importance of manufacturing in the American economy, was appointed Chief Economist for the U.S. Commerce Department in July 2013.  Sue had been on leave from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Management for the previous year while she served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers within the president’s office. 

Sue is a founding member of the Industry Studies Association and has served in many leadership roles including on the Board of Directors from 2008-2012 and on the Industry Studies Committee, which founded and launched the ISA, from 2004-2008.

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On September 10, 2013 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Professor David Weil as the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor; and Professor Richard Frank as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

These nominations require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Both David and Richard have advised government agencies over many years, and Richard has previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS (2009-2011), where he directed the Office on Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy. David and Richard were also both co-directors of Sloan Industry Centers established in the 1990s: David at the Textile and Apparel Industry Center, and Richard at the Managed Care Industry Center, both located at Harvard.

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Following our successful conference in Kansas City at the very end of May 2013 -- hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation -- the Kauffman Foundation followed-up with a generous offer of support for ISA’s efforts to advance the professional development of early career scholars dedicated to industry studies research. The Kauffman Foundation’s $10,000 grant is specifically dedicated to sponsorship for the Early Career Development Committee (ECDC) and the 2014 Rising Star Award. The ECDC was literally the first committee established by the ISA, and, in fact pre-dates the ISA in the sense that it was one of the building blocks set by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as the industry studies community was developing. The ECDCs professional development workshops and its work in organizing the ISA’s annual dissertation prize have contributed very substantially to advancing careers, and importantly, ECDC members have been proactive in pointing the way to new initiatives that would help the ISA offer value to its members.  The Rising Star Award competition is an example of this kind of ECDC initiative. Two years ago, Erica Fuchs (Carnegie Mellon University) and other ECDC members stepped forward to offer ideas about ways that excellent research by early-career scholars could be identified and recognized at our annual meetings. From this initiative, the Rising Star Award was created. Look for it again this year, in the 2014 Call for Papers. With this generous support from the Kauffman Foundation, our efforts to advance industry studies scholarship are getting a very big boost.